Lifespan of a digital camera?


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Jan 29, 2007
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I have a Canon 10D. I'm not sure exactly how old it is because it was given to me by my father who was a Washington Post photographer. Obviously this camera was used in the field for many years so it's taken a beating. Now, I've had it for about year and I'm starting to notice that my pictures aren't really as crisp as they used to be. At first I thought it was the lens having a focus issue but I've tried a number of lenses and it always appears just a touch out of focus.

So my question...does this sound like this would be caused by the cameras deterioration? Or something that is fixable? I did some web searching to see if I could find any information on this problem and they only thing I came up with was a lot of cases of shutters going bad over time. Are there any other signs that a cameras life is coming to an end?
sometimes it is that you get more sensitive to weaknesses of the lenses or the camera. when I look at some of my old shots, I think they are not as crisp and sharp as I remembered them.

did you really compare to your earlier images? or did you just consult your memories? the latter can go very wrong ;)
The only thing I've heard is that the shutter is rated to ~100,000 exposures without failing. I've never heard anything about image quality deteriorating as a function of the camera body's age.
If the camera was used in a harsh environment, like salt spray, misty oil, there maybe a film or other substance covering the sensor. But that would be extreme. I would think it more likely you might be experiencing a shift in auto focus accuracy. This can be easily adjusted by a good repairman.
It really depends on the camera. I know that the Nikon D200 is rated at 100,000 shutter cycles, but there are people out there that have over 200,000 shutter cycles and the camera still runs like new.

It depends on so many things, but I do not think it uncommon to think that 100,000 pictures out of a modern technology digital camera is not unreasonable.
A mechanically driven autofocus - like Nikon's screw drive - might be expected to develop some wear and slack. Not familiar with Canon but thought a good number were like Nikon's AF-S - with their own motors controlled via software - which would limit the effect.

If you haven't done so already, I'd simply send it in to Canon for a cleaning and 'tune-up'. Describe your issue and ask them to check that out specifically. If they're like Nikon, they will evaluate and give you an estimate asking for approval and payment before doing any work.

It'll be your decision when the projected cost is no longer worth it and it's time to replace.
I would expect short of outright wearing out the shutter or mirror pivots, the life of of a DSLR might be better gaged by your ability to purchase batteries for it. As for Nikon internal AF motors, I have never seen/heard of them being a problem for failure.
Ive gone through two D1X with the mirror breaking both times. They were well used.

I've gone through 2 as well. A D1H and a D1X, both waisted shutters. And yes, both had obscene amounts of actuations. Well in excess of the shutters rating.
I'd say try manual focusing to rule out the AF function...if it works..then you know it's the AF. if it still doesn't work...well then at least it's one less thing it could be. You can send it in to Canon...but I dono how worth it that would be to you.
Sensors don't just get blurry. They fail catastrophically, so it really is only either a focus problem or a general service / cleaning issue.
I used my buddies d70 to back-up shoot a wedding and the AF was really messed up. It might be a similar issue. I think it was an issue with just the AF motor in the camera, because I was getting sharp images on AF-S lenses. The d70 had literally hundreds of thousands of actuations on it by the way.

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